Obama, Modi declare era of 'new trust' in US-India relations

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Obama in India - updated 1/25
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Obama, Modi declare era of 'new trust' in US-India relations
U.S. President Barack Obama, left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hug after they jointly addressed the media following their talks, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Obama and Modi said Sunday they had made progress on nuclear cooperation and climate change, with Obama declaring a "breakthrough understanding" in efforts to free U.S. investment in nuclear energy development in India. (AP Photo/Press Trust of India) INDIA OUT
U.S. President Barack Obama, left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pose for the media prior to their talks, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Seizing on their personal bond, Obama and Modi said Sunday they had made progress on nuclear cooperation and climate change, with Obama declaring a "breakthrough understanding" in efforts to free U.S. investment in nuclear energy development in India. (AP Photo/Press Trust of India) INDIA OUT
U.S. President Barack Obama, left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi share a lighter moment over tea in the gardens of Hyderabad House where the leaders held their talks, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Seizing on their personal bond, Obama and Modi said Sunday they had made progress on nuclear cooperation and climate change, with Obama declaring a "breakthrough understanding" in efforts to free U.S. investment in nuclear energy development in India. (AP Photo/Press Trust of India) INDIA OUT
U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wave to the media before a meeting in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Obama was welcomed like royalty Sunday in India as he opened a three-day visit aimed at turning his burgeoning rapport with Prime Minister Narendra Modi into progress on climate change, defense and economic issues. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
U.S. President Barack Obama, left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pose for the media before they held their talks, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Seizing on their personal bond, Obama and Modi said Sunday they had made progress on nuclear cooperation and climate change, with Obama declaring a "breakthrough understanding" in efforts to free U.S. investment in nuclear energy development in India. (AP Photo/Press Trust of India) INDIA OUT
President Barack Obama throws rose petals as he participates in a wreath laying ceremony at the Raj Ghat Mahatma Gandhi Memorial, New Delhi, India, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Obama's arrival Sunday morning in the bustling capital of New Delhi marked the first time an American leader has visited India twice during his presidency. Obama is also the first to be invited to attend India's Republic Day festivities, which commence Monday and mark the anniversary of the enactment of the country's democratic constitution. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi talk as they have tea and coffee in the gardens of the Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
U.S. President Barack Obama, left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stroll through the gardens of Hyderabad House where the leaders held their talks, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Obama and Modi say they have achieved a breakthrough understanding to free up U.S. investment in nuclear energy development in India. (AP Photo/Press Trust of India) INDIA OUT
U.S. President Barack Obama, left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sit down for tea after a stroll in the gardens of Hyderabad House where the leaders held their talks, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Obama and Modi say they have achieved a breakthrough understanding to free up U.S. investment in nuclear energy development in India. (AP Photo/Press Trust of India) INDIA OUT
U.S. President Barack Obama inspects a Guard of Honor during a ceremonial reception at the Indian Presidential Palace in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Obama is the first American leader to be invited to attend India's Republic Day festivities, which commence Monday and mark the anniversary of the enactment of the country's democratic constitution. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
U.S. President Barack Obama, left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sit down for tea after a stroll in the gardens of Hyderabad House where the leaders held their talks, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Obama and Modi said Sunday they had made progress on nuclear cooperation and climate change, with Obama declaring a "breakthrough understanding" in efforts to free U.S. investment in nuclear energy development in India. (AP Photo/Press Trust of India) INDIA OUT
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hand with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as first lady Michelle Obama stand beside them, upon arrival at the Palam Air Force Station in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Obama's arrival Sunday morning in the bustling capital of New Delhi marked the first time an American leader has visited India twice during his presidency. Obama is also the first to be invited to attend India's Republic Day festivities, which commence Monday and mark the anniversary of the enactment of the country's democratic constitution. (AP Photo)
U.S. President Barack Obama folds his hands in a traditional Indian greeting gesture, as Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, center, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi laugh during a ceremonial reception at the Indian presidential Palace in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Obama is the first American leader to be invited to attend India's Republic Day festivities, which commence Monday and mark the anniversary of the enactment of the country's democratic constitution. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama wave as they step out of Air Force One upon arrival at the Palam Air Force Station in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Obama's arrival Sunday morning in the bustling capital of New Delhi marked the first time an American leader has visited India twice during his presidency. Obama is also the first to be invited to attend India's Republic Day festivities, which commence Monday and mark the anniversary of the enactment of the country's democratic constitution. (AP Photo)
U.S. President Barack Obama folds his hands in a traditional Indian greeting gesture during a ceremonial reception at the Indian presidential Palace in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Obama is the first American leader to be invited to attend India's Republic Day festivities, which commence Monday and mark the anniversary of the enactment of the country's democratic constitution. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
US President Barack Obama, foreground right, looks to the next guest as he, first lady Michelle Obama and Indian President Pranab Mukherjee participate in a receiving line before a State Dinner at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Obama's arrival Sunday morning in the bustling capital of New Delhi marked the first time an American leader has visited India twice during his presidency. Obama is also the first to be invited to attend India's Republic Day festivities, which commence Monday and mark the anniversary of the enactment of the country's democratic constitution. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama, right, first lady Michelle Obama and Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, left, stand during the US National Anthem before a receiving line at the State Dinner at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Obama's arrival Sunday morning in the bustling capital of New Delhi marked the first time an American leader has visited India twice during his presidency. Obama is also the first to be invited to attend India's Republic Day festivities, which commence Monday and mark the anniversary of the enactment of the country's democratic constitution. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
US President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama participate in a receiving line with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee before a State Dinner at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Obama's arrival Sunday morning in the bustling capital of New Delhi marked the first time an American leader has visited India twice during his presidency. Obama is also the first to be invited to attend India's Republic Day festivities, which commence Monday and mark the anniversary of the enactment of the country's democratic constitution. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama receives a scarf from a member of parliament who chairs the Committee on the Violation of Protocol Norms and Contemptuous Behavior of Government Officers, right, and reaches to hand first lady Michelle Obama a gift during a receiving line with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, left, before a State Dinner at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Obama's arrival Sunday morning in the bustling capital of New Delhi marked the first time an American leader has visited India twice during his presidency. Obama is also the first to be invited to attend India's Republic Day festivities, which commence Monday and mark the anniversary of the enactment of the country's democratic constitution. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
U.S. President Barack Obama, left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sit down for tea after a stroll in the gardens of Hyderabad House where the leaders held their talks, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Obama and Modi said Sunday they had made progress on nuclear cooperation and climate change, with Obama declaring a "breakthrough understanding" in efforts to free U.S. investment in nuclear energy development in India. (AP Photo/Press Trust of India) INDIA OUT
U.S. President Barack Obama, left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wave to the media prior to their talks, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Seizing on their personal bond, Obama and Modi said Sunday they had made progress on nuclear cooperation and climate change, with Obama declaring a "breakthrough understanding" in efforts to free U.S. investment in nuclear energy development in India. (AP Photo /Manish Swarup)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 23: Tableau of Ministry of Panchayati Raj move past during Republic Day full dress rehearsal, on January 23, 2014 in New Delhi, India. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited US President Barack Obama to be the first American president to attend Indias annual Republic Day festivities marked on January 26.(Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 23: Tableau of Indian State of Maharashtra move past during Republic Day full dress rehearsal, on January 23, 2014 in New Delhi, India. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited US President Barack Obama to be the first American president to attend Indias annual Republic Day festivities marked on January 26.(Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 23: Tableau of 'Make in India' move past during Republic Day full dress rehearsal, on January 23, 2014 in New Delhi, India. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited US President Barack Obama to be the first American president to attend Indias annual Republic Day festivities marked on January 26.(Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 23: Tableau of Indian State of Madhya Pradesh move past during Republic Day full dress rehearsal, on January 23, 2014 in New Delhi, India. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited US President Barack Obama to be the first American president to attend Indias annual Republic Day festivities marked on January 26.(Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 23: Contingent march past during Republic Day full dress rehearsal, on January 23, 2014 in New Delhi, India. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited US President Barack Obama to be the first American president to attend Indias annual Republic Day festivities marked on January 26.(Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 23: National Bravery Award winners move past during Republic Day full dress rehearsal, on January 23, 2014 in New Delhi, India. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited US President Barack Obama to be the first American president to attend Indias annual Republic Day festivities marked on January 26.(Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 23: Tableau of Department of Atomic Energy move past during Republic Day full dress rehearsal, on January 23, 2014 in New Delhi, India. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited US President Barack Obama to be the first American president to attend Indias annual Republic Day festivities marked on January 26.(Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 23: BSF personnel make a tableau of 'Religious Unity' during Republic Day full dress rehearsal, on January 23, 2014 in New Delhi, India. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited US President Barack Obama to be the first American president to attend Indias annual Republic Day festivities marked on January 26.(Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 23: School children perform cultural program during Republic Day full dress rehearsal, on January 23, 2014 in New Delhi, India. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited US President Barack Obama to be the first American president to attend Indias annual Republic Day festivities marked on January 26.(Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 23: Tableau of Ministry of Women and Child Development move past during Republic Day full dress rehearsal, on January 23, 2014 in New Delhi, India. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited US President Barack Obama to be the first American president to attend Indias annual Republic Day festivities marked on January 26.(Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 23: 'Akash (Army Version)' move past during Republic Day full dress rehearsal, on January 23, 2014 in New Delhi, India. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited US President Barack Obama to be the first American president to attend Indias annual Republic Day festivities marked on January 26.(Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 23: A view of full dress rehearsal of the Republic Day Parade at Red Fort road, on January 23, 2014 in New Delhi, India. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited US President Barack Obama to be the first American president to attend Indias annual Republic Day festivities marked on January 26.(Photo by Arun Sharma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 23: Worker putting up Indian and US flag at Teen Murti circle before US President Barack Obama visit to attend the Republic Day celebrations on January 23, 2015 in New Delhi. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited US President Barack Obama to be the first American president to attend Indias annual Republic Day festivities marked on January 26. (Photo by Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 23: Indian security personnel with a sniffer dogs patrol during Republic Day full dress rehearsal on January 23, 2015 in New Delhi, India. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited US President Barack Obama to be the first American president to attend Indias annual Republic Day festivities marked on January 26. (Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Indian soldiers march down Rajpath, a ceremonial boulevard that runs from Indian President's palace to war memorial India Gate, during the full dress rehearsal ahead of Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. U.S. President Barack Obama will be the chief guest during this year's parade which will be held on Jan. 26. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
An Indian shopkeeper displays a kite with portraits of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Barack Obama at a shop in Mumbai, India, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. Obama arrives in New Delhi on Sunday and will be the first American president to attend India’s annual Republic Day festivities marked annually on Jan. 26. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
An Indian worker wears an American flag before it is hoisted up a flag pole in New Delhi, India, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited U.S. President Barack Obama to be the first American president to attend India’s annual Republic Day festivities marked on Jan. 26. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)
Indian artist Jagjot Singh Rubal gives final touches on a painting of U.S. President Barack Obama in Amritsar, India, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. Obama arrives in New Delhi on Sunday and will be the first American president to attend India’s annual Republic Day festivities marked annually on Jan. 26. (AP Photo/Prabhjot Gill)
An Indian shopkeeper puts thread in a kite with portraits of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Barack Obama for sale at a shop in Mumbai, India, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. Obama arrives in New Delhi on Sunday and will be the first American president to attend India’s annual Republic Day festivities marked annually on Jan. 26. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
Camel mounted Indian soldiers march down Rajpath, a ceremonial boulevard, during full dress rehearsal ahead of the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. U.S President Barack Obama will be the chief guest during this year's parade which will be held on Jan. 26. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
Indian soldiers salute as they march down Rajpath, a ceremonial boulevard that runs from Indian President's palace to war memorial India Gate, during the full-dress rehearsal ahead of Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. U.S. President Barack Obama will be the "chief guest" during this year's parade which will be held on Jan. 26. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
Indian women soldiers march down Rajpath, a ceremonial boulevard that runs from Indian President's palace to war memorial India Gate, during the full dress rehearsal ahead of Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. U.S President Barack Obama will be the chief guest during this year's parade which will be held on Jan. 26. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
Indian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighters fly past during the full-dress rehearsal ahead of Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. U.S. President Barack Obama will be the "chief guest" during this year's parade which will be held on Jan. 26. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
Indian soldiers practice a march ahead of Republic Day parade celebrations in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. U.S. President Barack Obama will be the "chief guest" at this year's parade, marked annually on Jan. 26. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
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NEW DELHI (AP) -- President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday declared an era of "new trust" in the often fraught relationship between their nations as the U.S. leader opened a three-day visit to New Delhi.

Standing side by side at the stately Hyderabad House, Obama and Modi cited progress toward putting in place a landmark civil nuclear agreement, as well as advances on climate change and defense ties.

But from the start, the day was more about putting their personal bond on display. Modi broke with protocol and wrapped Obama in an enthusiastic hug after Obama got off Air Force One.

Obama later told reporters that Modi's "strong personal commitment to the U.S.-India relationship gives us an opportunity to further energize these efforts."

Modi was as effusive. He called Obama by his first name and said "the chemistry that has brought Barack and me closer has also brought Washington and Delhi closer."

Obama Arrives in India Ahead of National Day Events

Obama was to be the chief guest Monday at the annual Republic Day festivities, which mark the anniversary of India's democratic constitution coming into force. Obama is the first U.S. leader to attend the celebrations that are part Soviet-style display of India's military hardware, part Macy's Thanksgiving Day-type parade with floats highlighting India's cultural diversity.

Obama's presence would have been unlikely only a few years ago.

Relations between the U.S. and India hit a low in 2013 after an Indian diplomat was arrested and strip-searched in New York over allegations that she lied on visa forms to bring her maid to the U.S. while paying the woman a pittance. The official's treatment caused outrage in New Delhi, and India retaliated against U.S. diplomats.

The U.S. and India also were at an impasse over implementing the civil nuclear agreement signed in 2008. The U.S. insisted on tracking fissile material it supplied to India. Also, Washington was frustrated by Indian legal liability provisions that have discouraged U.S. companies from capitalizing on new energy development in India. There were about companies' legal responsibilities in the event of a nuclear power plant accident.

On Sunday, Obama said he and Modi had reached a "breakthrough understanding" on those areas of disagreements. Details on an accord were sparse.

Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, said only that India "moved sufficiently on these issues to give us assurances that the issues are resolved." U.S. Ambassador Richard Verma said the agreement would not require new legislation.

The U.S. and India also agreed to extend a 10-year defense partnership deal and cooperate on the phasedown of hydroflurocarbons, the greenhouse gases used for refrigeration and air conditioning.

Still, that was hardly the kind of sweeping climate change agreement the U.S. ultimately has in mind with India. The White House is hoping that the surprise deal with China late last year setting ambitious targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions will influence India and others.

Modi, however, rejected comparisons with China. "India is an independent country, and there is no pressure on us from any country or any person," he said.

Obama arrived Sunday morning to a capital whose normally bustling streets were empty. Police cleared sidewalks as Obama's motorcade sped to the presidential palace for a welcome ceremony. Obama then visited a memorial to the father of India's independence movement, Mohandas K. Gandhi.

Obama and Modi spent much of the afternoon in private talks. They broke briefly for a stroll through the gardens of Hyderabad House, the guest house where the leaders held their discussions. Sitting down before cups of tea, both men looked relaxed. They smiled and laughed often as they chatted animatedly.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama were hosted at a state dinner featuring a dance performance by a cultural group that also performed during Obama's 2010 visit to India.

Taking some of the luster off the trip, Obama does plan to cut his trip slightly short. Following a speech Tuesday morning, he will travel to Saudi Arabia to pay respect to the royal family following the death of King Abdullah.

In order to make the trip to Riyadh, Obama scrapped plans to visit India's famed white marble Taj Mahal.

---

Associated Press writer Muneeza Naqvi contributed to this report.

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